by DDT
Don't let the job ruffle your feathers.
Keywords: birdland, hazman, reviews
So, I was looking through the list of games on BYOND Casual when I ran across a game I'd heard about, seen banners and screenshots of, but never actually played. So, I decided I'd make it my first review here at BYOND Casual.

Birdland is based around the idea that you are a sort of Air Traffic Controller for birds. An 'ion storm' has confused all of the birds in the area and it is your job to reunite them with their eggs!

Gameplay: 8/10
The game is played primarily with the arrow keys, and with tab and q to switch between birds. A bird will appear on the map, and you then select it and tell it which direction to go in. I found that the game stops you from turning a bird a full 180 in one tile, and you can't turn a bird more than once per tile, which can make the game a little tricky as you have to be spending valuable seconds rotating a bird, but I guess that's the point.

The birds are randomly placed on the map, and the game sometimes tries to trip you up (I assume, it could just be chance I guess) by placing a new bird directly in the path of another one. This can cause major problems (and a blood splat!) if you aren't careful, and I feel that there should at least be more space between spawning birds so that you have a chance to select the new one and divert it.

The lower levels can be fairly slow as there is often only one or two birds on the screen at a time, which makes the levels a little uninteresting. However, it's a fun game to kill time with so I guess it all works out in the end.

Graphics: 7/10
The game features a nice brushed metal-style interface and is played on a grid. The bird images are nice, and there is a small variety of birds. Different colours are used to denote different players in multiplayer, and just for a bit of variety in single player.

One thing I found a bit less attractive was the flipping effect of the birds when travelling north or south. This adds to the 'air-traffic radar' style feel of the game, but I think a different image (of a bird flying north or south) would look better.

I also noticed that the interface messages were offset, so they appear a bit to the right of where you would expect them. This really stands out, but not really in a good way.

The game could really benefit from a 4.0 skin and very little would actually be required as the game features no verbs and the output box is only used for brief messages and presumably for multiplayer chat, although I couldn't actually access any form of 'say' verb.

Sound: 5/10
The game features a few bird-like sounds to show birds spawning and colliding, but without any background music it seemed a bit eerie. I think that the game could do very well out of an evolving loop, starting with a simple tune that gets more elaborate as the game progresses. Hell, I've played games like that just to hear how the music sounds on the next level!

Multiplayer: N/A
I briefly toyed with running a multiplayer session of Birdland but since I had no way of communicating with other players, co-ordinating a game seemed a bit difficult.

Overall: 8/10
I enjoyed playing Birdland, and I imagine that it can be the sort of game that people can get very competitive about. That said, I couldn't really get into it due to the slow starting levels.

Hmm I'm pretty sure there should be some kind of say command in there...I'll have to take a look at it.
It doesn't get hard until level 3 or so.
A very fair and reasonable review. Thanks!
There is a say verb; hit the S key.

Otherwise, excellently written review. Multiplayer action is said to be quite interesting though I don't recall if I ever tried it myself. I do know that early in the game's life there were some considerable bloodbaths from mid-air collisions in multiplayer.